Our History

In an unprecedented multi-stakeholder effort, more than 70 representatives - producer organizations, trade, industry and NGOs - from over 20 countries launch an initiative to create a dialogue about strategies and measures to address key challenges and develop a common understanding about “sustainability” for the mainstream coffee sector.

2003 - 2005

The 4C Association as a multi-stakeholder membership organization is officially established on 1st December 2006, with 37 founding members.


The 4C Association establishes its Secretariat in Germany and sets up the verification system to verify producer groups against the 4C Code of Conduct.


The 4C Association opens its regional offices in Eastern Africa, Central America and Brazil to build partnerships with local and regional organizations, and coordinate support activities and projects in these coffee-producing regions.


The supply and demand for 4C Compliant Coffee sees significant increase. The 4C Association intensifies partnerships with sustainability standards for the benefit of coffee producers.


The two biggest coffee roasters, Nestlé and Mondelēz International (in 2011), announce ambitious public commitments to source increased volumes of 4C Compliant Coffee.


As an owner of a social and environmental sustainability standard, the 4C Association achieves full membership in the ISEAL Alliance.


The Sustainable Coffee Program powered by IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative and private sector partners is established to develop country-specific approaches to aid coffee farmers in becoming more resilient.


The 4C Association and the Sustainable Coffee Program enter into a partnership in order to increase synergies and impact though mutual support and collaboration


The Sustainable Coffee Program begins implementing national strategies in Brazil, Ethiopia, Uganda and Vietnam.


The need for increased impact is globally recognized and through the leadership of the 4C Association, the International Coffee Organization (ICO), IDH - The Sustainable Trade Initiative and others, the foundations of Vision 2020 begin.


The SCP develop several initiatives in Brazil, including projects on Endosulfan and climate change.


The 4C Association’s membership exceeds 300 for the first time and spans 21 countries, while the 4C Entry-level Standard encompasses over 360,000 producers with a total production potential of 2,624,986 MT. Committed industry members collectively report the receipt of 596,983 MT of 4C Compliant Coffee.


The need for both the 4C Association and the Sustainable Coffee Program to scale up their activities becomes evident. The membership of the 4C Association set in motion a strategy process towards an open and inclusive multi-stakeholder sustainability platform.


The 4C Membership approve the proposed strategy framework for the 4C Association and the Sustainable Coffee Program to join forces and co-create the Global Coffee Platform. The (commercial) verification operations of the 4C Entry-level Standard are spun off into a separate independent company, Coffee Assurance Services GmbH & Co. KG, while the competitive Field-Level Projects of SCP are absorbed by IDH.

March 2016

The Global Coffee Platform is publicly launched. The inaugural Membership Assembly will take place in October 2016, where the fully elaborated new organizational strategy (including new services and opportunities) will be presented.

April 2016

By 2017, the Global Coffee Platform and its three core functions – the Global Platform, the Progress Framework and the Baseline Common Code - will be fully operational.